Relational Trauma in Adults

Most people, when they hear the word “trauma”, think of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. This phrase tends to evoke images of horrific events, like war, car accidents, and sexual assault. But trauma comes in many forms, and not all trauma can be traced back to a singular event. 

What is Relational Trauma?

Many people suffer from relational trauma, which is trauma inflicted over the course of time, in particular by our primary caregivers or other close people in our lives. Relational trauma has numerous root causes, such as parental neglect and/or abuse and poor boundaries within the family system, and it can show up in many ways:

  • A pattern of unhealthy relationships in which your needs are neglected
  • A tendency to engage with narcissistic partners
  • Feelings of abandonment that persist over time
  • Taking on the emotions of others
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt and/or inadequacy
  • Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse

Whatever the root causes, the suffering that results from complex relational trauma is no less impactful than PTSD, and that suffering almost always shows up as struggles within our relationships.

Healing Relational Trauma

The good news is that with some time and attention these problems can be successfully addressed with therapy, and newer, healthier relational patterns can replace old, unhealthy ones.

You are not fated to repeat old patterns.

You can change. 

Reach Out for Relationship Trauma Therapy

Having a safe, unconditionally supportive environment in which to talk about your suffering and how it uniquely shows up for you is the first step toward healing. If you’re struggling to overcome a pattern of unhealthy relationships, especially with narcissistic partners, do reach out to schedule a free consultation to discuss how relationship trauma therapy may benefit you.

Tom Adams, LCMHC, offers online therapy for relational trauma to residents of Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

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